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Tania Kilin
Immortal since Dec 21, 2008
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I'm not evil, I'm inconsistent
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    Structure/Rational Choice

    What does the Rational Choice Theory tell us? Well, basically its assumptions are that human action lies at the heart of society, and that individuals, as social actors, are the ones who can choose to act. This immediately raises the question of social level outcomes, one that could only be explained by a theory on how human actions interact in such manner that they produce consequences at a higher scale - such theory does not yet exist.

    Structuralists see individuals as being shaped by the collectivity they live in, they internalize norms (standards and rules that are exterior, they exist prior to a person's birth) in such a way that they turn into values which then constitute motivation for a certain behavior.

    So far the two are not incompatible, individuals as "programmed ones" are still the ones capable of human action which "drives things along". However another one of rational choice theorists' assumptions is that of optimality, which says that choices are made aiming to reach the highest amount of benefits while lowering the costs (basic economy concept). What does that imply? Obviously it implies that humans are able to take into consideration all possible actions given a certain situation, they can predict the outcomes of those actions and then choose the action with the most suitable outcome according to their interests. Well for start, humans do not posses enough information for them to imagine all options in a given context, nor they can predict the consequences of their own actions (yes, I do think that is possible but only in theory). The argument that we are free to choose in the limits of the information we have access to does not stand from my point of view, because it so happens that the information that is accessible to us implies one outcome, and one only, it is structured in such a way that we cannot go beyond the limits of that one single possible choice. As one of my friends told me a few years ago, can you imagine a person who would have indeed access to all information about the past, which would then make that person able to predict the future, for such a person time would have no relevance, future past and present would collide and that person would be truly free.

    On a more general level of analysis, I am quite fond of Marx's way of seeing things. He believes there is possible to discover a law of human evolution by just looking at our history. Although I don't necessarily agree with his predictions, I do believe such law exists and I base my belief on simplicity: the simple fact that one thing leads to another.

    Wed, May 20, 2009  Permanent link

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